3 Ways You are Turning Your Hair Brassy (and how to fix it!)

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(Photo: Christina Applegate: Getty / Angela Weiss, Julianne Hough: Getty / Frazer Harrison, Carrie Underwood: Getty / Larry Busacca )

No one likes a side of sass -- or brass. Brassy hair, not to be confused with an intentional bronde, is a no-no. The first week of your color, you are feeling fly and beautifully blonde. As the weeks go on, your hair goes from fab to hat-worthy, but why?

You may be experiencing the terrifying and incessant: brassy blonde syndrome. The worst. A few things cause brassy blonde hair and with some minor tweaks to your hair routine, they are avoidable.

Alexandria Carlin of Salon 1800 and Hair by Carlin explains the crass brass, "it partially comes down to the science of altering your color with chemicals. Lightening your hair is a chemical process and depending on your natural hair color, will likely depend on the how much brass you will see when you go lighter. For example, if you have darker hair and want to go lighter, you will have to make a few appointments with your stylist because it is more of a challenge to lift the underlying pigment out of the hair."

Sigh. Just another example of why being blonde is so darn difficult (feel free to insert blonde joke here). What we do to our hair in the day-to-day that may seem as if they would not be harmful to our lovely locks actually causes the unwanted altering of the color tones.

Bad Company

Your water may be the culprit in brassy tones; "bad" water occurs for those that are not showering with mineral-free bottled water - show of hands anyone? Most of us are not showering with bottled water in which case the metals and minerals that are found naturally in your tap water might be to blame for discoloration. “When you wash your hair with hard water, your hair takes to the minerals, chlorine and metals that are within it. Your hair is porus from coloring which allows the strands to attract these elements” Carlin says. Hop over to Costco and buy out their bottled water? Luckily, a shower filter is a much more economical and less wasteful approach. A good shower filter will remove nearly all of the chlorine, metal and mineral impurities in the water.

The Sulfate Debate

Sulfates occur in water, but typically will not do enough to cause harm. In products, however, they are commonly listed on labels as sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate. Which although disguised, are adding more chemicals to your hair, "products that contain sulfates and parabens cause build up on the hair that leads to brassiness. I always suggest to my clients to use a clarifying shampoo every other week to remove buildup in the hair," Carlin advises. Look for products that boast the "sulfate-free" labels such as Bumble & Bumble Color-Minded Shampoo or can counter-act sulfates such as Aveda's Blue Malva Shampoo. "I suggest using a purple shampoo 1-2 times a week (or every 3 washes) to counteract the brass. These shampoos deposit a small amount of color on the surface of your hair. When looking at the color wheel, the color orange is across from purple, so that is why you want to use a "purple" toned shampoo to knock out any "orange" brass you see in the hair."

Washing Every Day

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No one needs to know that you did not wash your hair -- now showering, that is different. You can shower daily without washing your hair, it is possible! “The more you wash the hair, the faster it will strip the color pigments,” says Carlin. And unless you have been without internet access, you probably have seen the multitude of dry shampoo options out there. Dry shampoo allows you to give your hair a day of rest from a wash. Most dry shampoos contain a light fragrance in case you are worried the gym smell has stuck by you. We love the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo that is also formulated sulfate-free, hooray!

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